Shannen Doherty Reveals Breast Cancer, Sues Management Firm for Neglecting Insurance

The actress says mastectomy and chemotherapy could have been avoided.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Shannen Doherty

Beverly Hills, 90210 star Shannen Doherty made a stunning revelation in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday. The actress says in court documents that in March, she discovered she had invasive breast cancer and that it had spread during a time when she was uninsured.

She's suing the business management firm of Tanner Mainstain, saying it was their job to ensure timely payment of the medical insurance premiums for the policy she had through the Screen Actors Guild.

"In November 2013, SAG sent the premium invoice to Tanner Mainstain for Plaintiff's medical insurance coverage for the year 2014," states the complaint obtained by The Hollywood Reporter (read here). "However, Defendants ignored it, failed to pay it (without informing Plaintiff) and then promptly terminated their relationship with [Doherty] effective February 7, 2014."

After she was fired by her management firm, she was uninsured — which Doherty says she didn't realize. She eventually re-enrolled with SAG insurance for 2015, and began seeing doctors. That's when she was given her cancer diagnosis.

According to the complaint, "Plaintiff was also informed that, had she been insured and able to visit her doctor, the cancer could potentially have been stopped, thus obviating the need for the future treatment (including mastectomy and chemotherapy) that Plaintiff will likely have to suffer through now."

That's not all being alleged against Tanner Mainstain through her attorney Devin McRae at Early Sullivan, who took on the firm last year with allegations that James Franco management commissions had been diverted. (That case settled.)

"In truth, the firm and former partner [Steven] Blatt specialize in fleecing actors and entertainment industry professionals," states a complaint alleging breach of contract, fiduciary duty, conversion, negligence and more. "After gaining control of all of their clients' cash and assets, they find a way to lose it, sometimes by gross incompetence, sometimes by self-dealing and outright theft. Along the way, they habitually deceive their clients, going so far as to set up bogus transactions, to conceal their misdeeds, errors and omissions. The firm has hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme."

Doherty says accounting records reflect "strange and unexplained transfers" to unidentified individuals, the overcharging of management fees, missed tax payment and subsequent tax liens, wrongfully diverted insurance settlement money over property damage from a storm.

McRae is also representing Doherty's husband, photographer Kurt Iswarienko, in a separate but similar lawsuit against Tanner Mainstain. This lawsuit also includes allegations relating to taxes, plus claims the firm mismanaged an investment property he owned. Tanner Mainstain allegedly failed to make payments on a mortgage loan, resulting in a "quick foreclosure and loss of the Property, which Plaintiff was powerless to stop."

The second lawsuit also alleges missed credit card bill payments, sinking his credit rating and making it difficult to obtain financing. That is said to have harmed him when he purchased an airplane. After Tanner Mainstain stopped representing Iswarienko, he was informed by a bank that the purported loan he got was really "a high interest advance and that no loan had actually been negotiated yet."

In response to the lawsuits, Tanner Mainstain gave this response: "Tanner Mainstain is saddened to learn that Ms. Doherty is suffering from cancer and wishes her a full recovery. However, the claim that Tanner Mainstain caused her to be uninsured, prevented her from seeking medical care, or somehow contributed to her cancer is patently false. Tanner Mainstain will aggressively defend all of Ms. Doherty's claims in court."